TOPICS OF THE DAY.
[From Orm Special Correspondent.l
London, August 30. A wet, cold August Mrs Maybrick Brierley leaves England—An affecting farewell—Why Mr Matthews's deliberations were protracted—The additional evidence—Baroness Vonßoque—Her indiscretions—Miss Cranstoun—End of the agitation Theatrical notes Damala's obsequies Old Sanger dead—"Mamma Puzzi's" decease— The "Siffleuse" at Her Majesty's— Literary notes New books—Coming issues, etc.
August, 1889, will, like August, 1888, be remembered by tens of thousands of embittered holiday-makers as a wet, cold, windy, miserable month. Families at the seaside (Eastbourne, Margate, Ramsgate, and Yarmouth) have more particularly suffered abominably. During the greater part of the last fortnight it blew half a hurricane from the north-east, accompanied by blinding storms of hail and sleet. All out-of-door pursuits were impossible, and the cross tourists could only sit and glower at one another in their comfortless hotels and boarding-houses. Thank goodness we've done with Mrs Maybriok at last. Even the ' New York Herald' feels that as a subject for " copy " the case is played out, and that the sooner some fresh " sensation " to enliven the silly season crops up the pleasanter it will be for all parties. Albert Brierley left for America on Thursday, a broken, ruined man. His brother and sister-in-law saw him off, and appeared to have some difficulty in comforting the poor fellow. Fortunately, the few people on the Liverpool landing stage who recognised the victim of Mrs Maybrick's lawless passion had the grace not to evidence the fact, and the sad little party were allowed to pass on to the tender in peace. The prolonged deliberations of Mr Matthews over the Maybriok verdict were, I am told on the authority of an intimate friend who dined with the "Home Secretary on Saturday evening and talked over the whole affair, caused by the inexplicable weakness of Sir James Stephen, who would give no definite opinion on the case, but simply repeated over and over again that the summing-up was a fair summing-up. In this dilemma Mr Matthews called in the Lord Chancellor, who expressed himself at first deadagainst meddling with the verdict; After hearing Drs Stevenson and Tidy, however. Lord Halsbury somewhat modified his opinion. Both were distinctly of opinion that arsenic had been administered to Mr Maybrick, but neither would swear he died from it. There was just a tiny scintilla of doubt on this nice point, and of it the Home Secretary gladly availed himself. The Crown official who visited Liverpool to collect any scraps of evidence that might have been overlooked in the excitement of the trial did not succeed in eliciting a single point favorable to the convicted woman. On the other hand, however, he examined Mrs Maybrick's mother, and soon discovered why the defence had not elected to call that talkative and hopelessly indiscreet lady. The Baroness's conversation was to the effect that Florrie was perfectly innocent, poor darling; and, even if she wasn't, James Maybrick was a brute, and deserved his fate. As for that Mrs Briggs coming meddling in other people's business, she'd no patience with her. Everything would hove been all right but for her. If there really was any arsenic in the foodsand medicines, which she (the Baroness) would never believe, it was far more likely Mrs Briggs or that nasty cat Yapp put it there than poor, dear Florrie, etc., etc., etc. Another witness whom it was said the defence should have aalled proved to be a semi-cracked old maid called the Hon. Pauline Cranstoun, who swore Maybrick had consulted her about his horoscope some years back, and in numerous letters confessed to taking arsenic vAth every meed. Arsenic, in fact, was the deceased's regular food and invariable tipple. The Hon. Pauline knew it; she was sure of it. He'd told her so again and again. The letters, of course, had, most unfortunately, been destroyed. This dauntless lady deluged poor Mr Matthews with letters, and for three whole days literally blockaded the Home Office, refusing to leave till informed her victim had fled by a side door. Miss Cranstoun even visited Liverpool (armed with a large loaf of bread for the prisoner), and swooped down on the Baroness Von Roque, whom she speedily talked into hysterics, and then left in order to give Mrs Briggs "a piece of her mind." Mrs Maybrick has been removed to Millbank. The chaplain at Walton says she does not seem to realise the long dreary convict life before her as yet. A few people are still agitating for a pardon, but the movement has lost its vitality, The ninedays' wonder is over, everyone now talks of the great strike, and in a very few days public interest in the central figure in "The Great Liverpool Poisoning Case " will be as moribund as Queen Anne herself.
THEATRICAL NOTES. Sara Bernhardt would not bo Sara Bernhardt if she could have buried Damala in an ordinary, commonplace manner. Naturally there had to be something morbid and outvd about the obsequies, (Jne reads tfcat to costume the depeased in gala attire (i.e., in dress clothes), seat him upright in an armchair, and then kneel around praying and burning incense, is in strict accordance with the custom of the Greek Church, and was, therefore, essential in the case of D|amala. S,till, it seems hard, to imagine a woman who really loved him assisting at such gruesome ceremonies. But then Sara is a genius, and must not, I suppose, be judged by ordinary canons.
Sanger's Circus used to be known all the world/oyer, so the death of hale old George Sanger, at the advanced age of seventy-six, may be worth a line. Latterly he ceased peregrinating with his show, save in the English provinces, and settled down at Astley's (rechiistened Sanger's), in the Westminster Bridge road, where his Christmas pantomimes became famous. Old George leaves a numerous family to carry on the traditions of Sanger's. Another veteran I must not forget to meation who has recently gone aloft at a ripe old age is Madame Puzzi, or "Mamma" Puzzi, as generations of Italian opera singers have called her. Emma Puzzi was herself a prima donna known to fame in early youth. Subsequently she and her husband taught singing in London, and turned out many noted vocalists. She really was a sort of mother to many an irresponsible Italian tenor. Guiglini (the silver - voiced) worshipped Mamma Puzzi, and sent for her whenever his amourettes became too much for him. Those who knew him were aware that when Guiglini swore "by the Holy Virgin " it, didn't mean mnch, but when he swore " by the Holy Virgin and Mamma Puzzi" he was entirely in earnest. Those who care to know more of this remarkable woman should read 'Mapleson's Memoirs,' which teem with reminiscences of her.
Tha American " Siftleuse " (Mrs Shaw) appeared for the first time in public in England on Monday,'at Her Majesty's promenade concerts. She has, of course, performed on many occasions semi-publicly (at the Lyric Club, the Grosvenor, the Gardenia, and similar resorts), but this was her first genuine dsyt before tha great P.B. (paying public). A great success resulted. Notwithstanding the immensity of'the house, M»b Shaw's whistle rang out sweet and clear as a flageolet, and the audience behaved as though they could never have enough of it. The fair finleuse was twice encored, and then recalled again and again. She declined to do any more at the moment, but gracefully indicated that after wetting her whistle in the green room she 1 would reappear later. 'The Kendals are, I hear, by'no means certain of a cordial reception in the Spates, The fair Madge's ill-advised animadversions 0q Yankee interviewers and reporters have given great ofifenoe—in faot, 'tiß said the maligned Pressmen are thirsting for revenge. If so, T pity poor Mrs Kendal.
The rage for certain first editions seems
rather on the increase than the decrease. At Sotheby's last week Thackeray's rare 'Second Funeral of Napoleon' and •Chronicle of the Drum' fetched L3O, whilst an ' Oliver Twist' (certainly spotless) realised L 32, and a beautifully clean ' David Copper field' (in parts) L 9. During the coming publishing season the famous old firm of Longmans (generally first in the field with their announcements) will issue three new volumes of the popular "Badminton Library" —viz., 'Fencing,' ' Riding,' ' Yachting,' and ' Golf,' also Sir John Willoughby ' Travels and Experiences whilst after Big Game in South Africa'; ' The Skipper in Arctic Seas,' by the author of that clever little book ' Three in Norway'; 'Russia in Asia in 1888,' by the Hon. George Curzon; and the following novels: 'Such is Life,' by May Kendall; ' Wild Dame,' by H. Herman and Christie Murray; and 'Gobi or Shamo,' by G. A. Murray. New two-shilling issues this week include Gissing's ' Life's Morning' (a singularly powerful novel, as I mentioned when it came out first); Henry Cresswell's 'A Wily Widow'; Mrs Riddell's ' The Nun's Curse'; and LordDesart's 'Heme Lodge.' Miss Gertrude Forde, whose pretty story, 'Driven Before the Storm,' was recently republished at 2s by Spencer Blackett, has just completed another work on similar lines, called ' Geoff,' which will be issued immediately in three volumes by Hurst and Blackett. Miss Forde is still a mere girl. That a large number of English folk must read Tolstoi nowadays is evident from the fact that Walter Scott's new edition of the Russian's works sells largely, although Vizetelly published them nearly all previously at much the same price. I confess the only one I could stand at all was ' Anna Karenina,' and a little of that goes a long way. Ibsen is much more comprehensible. tßy-the-hye, if you care to appreciate the Norwegian read the Rev. Philip Winksteed's article on his latest work in the August 'Contemporary.' It quite converted me. On dit the coming ' Blackwood' contains a ghastly descriptive article on a South African species of leprosy, the victims of which are segregated at Robben Island ; also, an appreciative notice of Marie BashKertseff (the young Russian millionaire painter, whose early death cut short a promising career), by Miss Helen Zimmern, and •Five Years' Experiences of a Jesuit Novitiate,' by H. Dyievicki, believed to be a protege" of Andrew Lang's. The fifth volume of the 'Minerva Library,' which is the cheapest series of standard works of scientific travel ever issued to the public, will consist of Galton's ' Travels in Damaraland,' and the sixth of Alfred Russell Wallace's 'Travels on the Amazon.' The ' Library' will then include the three books of travel in which three of the most noted Evolutionists (Darwin, Wallace, and Galton) laid the foundation of their future fame. Darwin's book is, however, incomparably the most interesting, and will probably suffice the average reader.
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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Evening Star, Issue 8036, 12 October 1889, Supplement
TOPICS OF THE DAY. Evening Star, Issue 8036, 12 October 1889, Supplement
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